Mike Ball – Spoilsport: Cod Hole
Visit the Great Barrier Reef’s far northern Ribbon Reefs, with their famous ‘Cod Hole’ dive site, with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions. The Ribbon Reefs really are seeing the Great Barrier Reef at its best. Situated 120km north of Cairns, the Ribbon Reefs are a pristine marine environment.
Their remote location means less visitors and their coral gardens are bursting at the seams with all manner of Great Barrier Reef fish and marine life. There are literally hundreds and thousands of gem-coloured basslets and damsels, giant clams, moray eels, sea snakes, sea turtles, nudibranchs, reef sharks and so much more.
To visit, you must book a liveaboard trip from Cairns. Mike Ball Dive Expeditions has been running Great Barrier Reef liveaboard dive expeditions since 1969. His twin-hull Spoilsport boat is Australia’s most awarded, liveaboard dive boat. It’s 30m long and accommodates a maximum of 28 guests in its 14 cabins which are serviced daily (most have their own bathroom). The cabin configuration and price varies (budget, club, standard and premium) allowing you to tailor your trip to suit your itinerary and budget.
Budget cabins have twin bunk beds (shared bathroom); club cabins have twin bunk beds with private ensuite bathroom; standard cabins have twin beds with ocean views and private ensuite bathroom; premium cabins have a queen bed, ocean views and private ensuite bathroom.
Spoilsport has three levels of air-conditioned interior, with the lounge and saloon on the top deck, opening out to the spacious sun deck. Guest accommodation is on the middle deck, which opens on to the dive deck. There is an onboard chef preparing all your meals and snacks: the crew to guest ratio is 12:28.
The tour price includes: Cairns city hotel transfers, three nights accommodation, meals and linen on Spoilsport and a scenic, low-level flight from Lizard Island to Cairns. Diving equipment hire is extra.
Special - FREE Digital Underwater Camera Hire - Valid until the 30th DEC 2017
Remember if you book with us you receive 1 x FREE Digital Underwater Camera Hire! You need to supply your own SD camera card and come into our shop the day before departure to pick up the camera!
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Please Note: Mike Ball is now back in the water after a fantastic refit. She now has two brand new engines and looking forward to a fantastic 2017 dive season!
Inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, all dives.
Optional Extras: 3 Day Full Equipment rental – $132, 3 Day Nitrox package – $75, PADI Advanced Course – $215, SDI Nitrox Course – $275, PADI Open Water Referral – $245
Reef Tax: $26.00 per person Marine Park Fee is payable direct to Mike Ball Dive Expeditions. This is included in the price table above.
|Prices are shown in Australian dollars and include GST. Prices subject to change without notice.|
Detailed below is a basic itinerary, based on a standard trip. Please note, the itinerary may vary, pending weather and conditions. We have included highlights, as well as detailed trip information, for ease of reading. Please contact us for more information.
MONDAY. Highlights: Low-level, scenic coastal flight from Cairns to Lizard Island, boarding Spoilsport, up to three (3) certified dives on the Great Barrier Reef’s Ribbon Reefs, including a night dive.
MORE DETAIL: A scenic flight between Cairns and Lizard Island is the perfect way to start your exploration of the Great Barrier Reef. The flight plan has been established to provide maximum views and at last half of your 150 mile journey is undertaken at 180m above-sea level, providing amazing views over the Coral Sea and the reefs that you will soon be diving on.
Landing at Lizard Island, you will be transferred to Mike Ball’s Spoilsport by tender and be ready for your first dive at around 12.30pm. Be amazed from the very first descent, when you enter the crystal clear waters of the Cod Hole. Dive amongst the friendly, giant Potato Cod for the experience of a lifetime. Explore the rarely dived Cod Wall, which descends 60m and has spectacular coral formations. Tonight you have the option of a night dive on Challenger Bay, home to large schooling fish and even some barracuda.
TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY. Highlights: More amazing scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef’s Ribbon Reefs. Certified scuba divers can enjoy up to nine (9) dives, including early morning and night dives. Chef prepared meals, cruising the Ribbon Reefs and sun rise and sun set over the Great Barrier Reef.
MORE DETAIL: The next two days of the trip are spent exploring the Great Barrier Reef’s Ribbon Reefs. Reef site sequence and dive / snorkel times will vary, pending weather and conditions, but you will have at least one visit to the world famous Cod Hole.
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions keeps their guests updated with the latest dive plans and boat movements, via their comprehensive dive site briefings. Just some of the dive sites you may visit include: Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Pinnacle, Andy’s Postcard, Clam Beds, Vertical Gardens, Flare Point and Steve’s Bommie (an excellent dive site!).
Your last night aboard Spoilsport is party night, with a farewell, international BBQ. Loud shirts are welcome, so remember to pack your best! Fare includes steak with pepper sauce, spiced lamb lion chops, kangaroo, baked potatoes, salads, sausages and much more. Overnight, Spoilsport makes its way back to Cairns.
THURSDAY. Highlights: Arriving back into Cairns.
MORE DETAIL: There is no water action today. You will wake up to find Spoilsport docked in Cairns’ Trinity Inlet. A light breakfast is served aboard the boat, before you disembark at 8am with courtesy coach transfers back to your city accommodation.
This trip is recommended to certified divers only: open water certification is a minimum requirement. Mike Ball Dive Expeditions does allow solo diving, but only for divers with a Solo Certification (you can complete one of these on board, but must have an Advanved Certification and evidence of at least 100 logged dives).
Scuba divers travelling on their own will be paired up with other divers on board, who have similar experience / skill levels. Most of the diving is unguided, however, if you want personalised dive guides this service is available on Mike Ball Dive Expeditions at extra cost ($250 per day + berth cost for the guide). Contact us for more information.
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions has an open dive deck policy, allowing you to dive as much or as little as you like. Most certified divers will do up to five (5) dives per day (2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon plus a night dive). On a normal itinerary, Spoilsport will visit up to three (3) different dive sites per day.
Diving equipment is not included in the tour price. You are welcome to bring your own or hire it on the boat ($120 for 3 day full equipment rental). All divers are required to use a Nautilus Lifeline GPS (these are included). Extras include: Nitrox and the choice to participate in some dive courses (PADI Advanced or SDI Nitrox).
Certified divers can enjoy up to 12 dives on this trip: you do not have to do all of the dives, do as many or as few as you like. Dive safety is paramount and there is no reverse profiling. Comprehensive dive site briefings are provided before every dive. In regards to depth, divers should dive to their experience levels or certification. There are no set limits on dive time: although divers must return to the boat with a minimum of 50 bar of air left in their tanks.
Certified divers will be required to show evidence of their certification: through current dive licenses and log books. All divers will be required to sign a Waiver Release and Indemnity Deed on board the boat. You will also be required to complete dive medical paperwork on board.
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions are just that, dive trips. However, snorkelers and non-diving partners are more than welcome to join in. The Ribbon Reefs do offer some great snorkelling opportunities, which are suitable for experienced snorkelers. Please note that all sites are open water sites, which means they may be subject to currents and waves. Water depth and conditions will vary. Discounts apply for snorkelers: contact us for more information on prices.
MIKE BALL – SPOILSPORT – COD HOLE REVIEW - Reviewed by Julie on the Tuesday 2nd of April 2013
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions offers fabulous liveaboard dive trips to the Ribbon Reefs (including Cod Hole) and Coral Sea. These trips are suited to all levels of divers, but experienced divers will really appreciate the option of diving solo, longer and deeper than other trips. Spoilsport has an excellent floor plan for divers and a spacious dive deck with good facilities for underwater photographers. Overall, a class operation guaranteed to please.... read full review
Awsome diving at Great Barrier Reef - Tommy Norgren
It was my first time down at the great barrier reef and I just loved it! The promised me Turtles, Rays, Sharks and much more and I saw it all. Unfortunately we could not head out to Osprey Reef which is where the majority of the sharks would have been due to bad weather (happens once or twice a year), but the backup plan was equally good. Can really recommend Mike Ball Live-aboard where the service and structure is just great. Up to five dives a day where the amazing food and drinks is served when you get up from the dive is great. I will travel with them again! ... travelled on 09/05/2013